Below Deck Mediterranean star, Joao Franco is no stranger to perilous situations. As he became close with Brooke Laughton last season, Joao opened up about his difficult childhood in Zimbabwe. He described having a gun held to his head during a robbery in which his mother was also attacked.
Joao lives in Florida now, as many yachties do in between charter seasons. Life there has not been free of drama. Last year, Joao was out partying with Below Deck bosun Ross Inia when the latter was arrested. Joao managed to avoid trouble since Ross’s arrest in December 2018, but that all changed recently.
Fans were shocked to see Joao’s Instagram Story on June 29th. There was a picture of the bosun with bruises on his face and chest. Joao explained his physical state with the caption, “cheers to the 3 guys who jumped me and robbed me after I bought them food.”
Joao gave an interview about the incident to Bravo’s The Daily Dish. A week after being jumped and robbed, Joao was on the mend, though his cheek still had a pink mark on it.
Joao recollected what happened. He had stopped for a hot dog after a night out at a Florida bar. There were three other men at the stand and Joao offered to buy them food, “So I bought them hot dogs, but I think they had seen me pull money out of my wallet to pay for the hot dogs. And then I put my wallet back in my pocket and walked off.”
Joao was attacked by one of the men first. He said, “About two minutes later, one guy had tried to take my wallet, and he had already almost got away. So I caught him and then we scuffled. He bit me, scratched me, because he wasn’t getting away. I was like, ‘You’re not going anywhere.’ I’m like, ‘I want my s–t back.”
The situation escalated quickly. Joao continued, “And then two other guys kicked me. I didn’t know there was anyone else, so had I known, I probably would have kept my wallet and actually run, but I was more concerned about getting this guy, and then they ended up taking my wallet and my phone. Chased after them, couldn’t get to them.”
Joao was left with $30 cash in his pocket. Since his phone had been stolen, Joao was unable to communicate with friends and had to find another way to get home. He found that people, and even law enforcement, were not very accommodating.
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Joao recalled that he “saw a police car and tried to wave the car down, and they carried on going. Yeah, I tried to ask people. I was like, ‘I really need a cab. And no one wanted to help me out. They were like, ‘No, sorry.'” Thankfully, Joao received some assistance at a Starbucks where one the employees called him a cab.
Joao maintains an optimistic outlook on what happened to him. Given his past experiences, Joao knows that it could have been a lot worse. He said, “I mean, I could have been stabbed, so I always look at the positive side.”
Of course, adjusting to life in any new country comes with its own challenges. Joao is taking it all in stride saying, “You get the ups and the downs.”
TELL US- WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JOAO GETTING ROBBED? IS HE A CHANGED MAN THIS SEASON ON BELOW DECK MEDITERRANEAN?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]